Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Thoughts on CSTA Conferences Past and Present

I am attending the 2023 CSTA Conference online. I’m not writing blog posts about it the way I normally do. Lots of reasons for that but I will post some learnings from it later. I am downloading lots of presentation slides as notetaking.

But I wanted to take a few minutes to ramble about what has been going through my mind as I watch. One question I get a lot is: Why are your as a retired person still attending CSTA conferences and events. It’s a fair question. It's not as if I have a classroom in the fall to apply what I learn.

The truth is that the computer science education community has been a big part of my life for a long time It started online in listservs even before I was blogging and a while before there was a CSTA. It’s a part of my life that has spanned jobs – teaching and otherwise. I’d like to think I still have things to contribute. And personal value to gain. The conference bag on the right, from the CS & IT symposium in 2005, was not my first conference BTW. But I found it today and thought I’d add it.

The community started small. By the second or third conference it seemed like everyone knew everyone. That was good in some ways but for CS to grow the teacher community had to grow. Now I go to conferences and there are many people I don’t know. And others from the  past have retired and chosen not to be active anymore. I don’t blame them BTW. We all make the choices for how to spend our time and energy.

The growth has been good. Many on the current CSTA board have been members for only a few short years. They bring energy and ideas and innovation that is necessary for the future of the organization. They still listen to us old timers though. I am on the conference committee for next summer’s CSTA conference. I am excited about that work. So many new things in our field. So many new and diverse voices that we need to hear from.

Speaking of next year, the call for proposals for the 2024 CSTA conference is now open. I encourage anyone with interesting ideas to submit a proposal. The CSTA audience is the best and most responsive audience ever. It’s going to be in-person next year. Start hitting your school/district up for funding to attend. It can be life and career changing.

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